Artwork, Beauty, Cultures, family, Grandchildren, health, holidays, home, Parenting, photography, Religion

Hope Springs Forth

My pansies were brave enough to bloom despite the pandemic encompassing the globe. So were my daffodils. Even my lilac bush is budding. April is here. People have created new ways to communicate and celebrate one another. Humanity finds a way.

Some friends and family have been taken from us and they are forever in our hearts and minds. And, there are heros. Many of them. They sacrifice their lives to help others. We look to our leaders to give us hope and direction. And, more people are praying now!

I cried today, not unlike other days, but as I set out the Easter decorations, I thought of my grandchildren. I wished they were here to enjoy them. At least I can send them pictures.

Parents have a new appreciation for teachers. Financial stress weighs on many. Calamity can either make or break relationships. Coronavirus memes are rampant. Idiots lick toilets and wish the old people would die. Our true selves are exposed.

I love Tom Hanks! Glad you are feeling better!

Media is taking advantage of the crisis. It blares all day long with monkeys coming out for a bit of notoriety. Fools still go out shopping when they don’t really need to. I have learned not to watch the news all day long.

I saw all of my grandkids this week, even though we were not in the same room. What a blessing that is! I sent out a questionnaire to them and learned a few new things about them.

Easter is coming up soon! I have been preparing for the upcoming conference with our prophet! You can watch it too. Check out

I can only imagine how Christ felt knowing his people did not realize or appreciate what he was about to do for them. Do we?

Beauty, Cultures, family, Grandchildren, health, home, Parenting, photography, Religion, travel

Coronavirus COVID-19 and Grandma

The latest epidemic of Coronavirus has been on my mind constantly. I feel empathy for the many who have suffered from this virus and especially those who have lost their lives and their families. As an older person with chronic autoimmune issues, this virus is a threat!

So far, Utah has not had any known cases of the virus obtained instate. However, paranoia has emptied many shelves in the local Costco and Walmart. People are panicking in ways I never imagined. You would think it is the end of the world! Perhaps it is!

Well, at least I have learned something from all of this chaos, like how to wash my hands properly! Before, a quick dab of soap and a second or two of water sufficed. Now I feel that everything around me has germs on it, especially things I touch often like these computer keys. I use my clorox wipes much more than ever before.

I have also decided not to go out to the movies, to shop unless I really need to, and I have questioned attending large gatherings. It has affected almost all of my interactions with others – I even found myself elbow bumping my own granddaughter (what)?

Our church (LDS) has had general conference every spring and fall for as long as I can remember. For the first timein my life, they have told everyone to watch conference from home and that no international leaders will meet as usual at the conference center on Temple Square! Even the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah is not accepting new missionaries in lieu of being prepared online. Some temples have been closed and missionaries reassigned or sent home.

Our daughter and our family at the Salt Lake Temple

All of this has affected my psyche and ultimately affected everything I do. My daughter is a Nurse Practitioner and I worry that she might be exposed to the virus at work. She has been taking care of my husband and I and this adds another dimension to her job. I have Grave’s disease and use oxygen at night due to respiratory problems.

When will this nightmare end? Hopefully spring will bring warmer weather and kill off any hint of the virus! I am praying this time next year, the coronavirus will be a bad memory and not a significant threat to many.

Some of our family in Italy only a couple of years ago where the coronavirus currently rages

I realize how unprepared I am for a full-out emergency situation. We have been slowly eating up all of our food storage and not replacing it. I regret that right now!

While we are retired and doing okay financially, the recent stock market crash has eaten away at my 401-K! That is not the worst thing that could happen, but it is very frustrating.

I’m trying hard to have a positive outlook for my children and grandchildrens. I hope and pray that all of them will avoid the effects of the coronavirus.

Our latest family photo – missing Israel Kongaika

Cultures, family, food, Grandchildren, health, holidays, home, Parenting, photography, Religion, travel

Things That Have Changed Since My Grandparents Were Kids

All four of my grandparents were born in the early 1900s. So much has changed since my grandparents were kids. For example, during that time the first passenger flight took place, Theodore Roosevelt won his first presidential election, Cuba gained independence from the United States, Las Vegas was officially formed as a city,  and not too long afterward the US Airmail Service was established costing 6 cents per ounce of mail.

Las Vegas in the early years

My grandparents were all children when the Titanic sunk, the first electric sewing machine was built, the First World War began, and a silent film, The Wizard of Oz was made. When my grandfather was ten years old, the Boy Scouts of America was founded. Idaho had a huge fire known as the Big Burn which killed more than 80 people and was known as the worst fire in US histor during that time. .

First electric car

In 1911, the first auto electric self start car was invented. Up until then, all cars were started by cranking a handle. By 1913, Ford introduced the continuous moving assembly line which could produce a complete car every two-and-a-half minutes. Workers were paid $5.00 per day.

Rotary phone

Stainless steel did not exist before 1913 nor did Income Tax which was imposed on any income above $3,00. I can imagine both of my grandmothers being interested in the Suffrage Movement as women marched for the right to vote. The Rotary Dial Telephone was invented whereas before this every call that was made had to go through an operator.

Women Suffrage Movement

A flu epidemic killed more than half a million Americans in 1918. It is interested that currently the coronovirus is a real threat to the modern world.

My father interviewed my paternal grandfather in 1964 where my grandpa tells of his childhood and upbringing. His father died when he was only five months old. He was brought up by his mother until she died when he was eight years old.  He was raised in a polygamous family so he had several aunties that helped to care for him. Grandpa herded sheep to pay for his tuition.

Grandpa and Grandma Anderson and my father
My paternal grandfather and grandmother and some of heir family.

Meantime, Grandma managed to live most of her young life in a log cabin with no electricity, no telephone, and no running water or indoor plumbing. It is hard to imagine life like that, but she was able to graduate from high school and became an excellent cook and seamstress. Even with the disadvantaged lives both of my paternal grandparents had, they were well educated and raised a fine family.

Grandma Anderson and Children

My maternal grandparents were similar in their upbringing, raised without many worldly goods. They survived by raising some of their own food. Grandpa excelled in school and was often the last one left undefeated in spelling contests. He could recite the time tables from one to twelve in two minutes. He loved participating in drama and choral training. I remember my Grandfather as being a very strict stern man. He went through many years of ill health and was in pain much of the time. He was devoted in his religion and raised four boys and my mother.

My maternal grandmother was one of the youngest of 12 children. I was named after my grandmother, Ruth Zina. They lived in a small town, Moroni, Utah.  When she was young she got the flu and was very sick. She had to walk a long way to school. Once at school there was no furnace, but they had a big round stove in the middle of the room. She wore mostly hand me downs or clothes her mother made.

My grandmother’s large family. She is near the middle.

Grandma got baptized in a cold river near town. As a child, she worked in the beet fields. Mostly she played games outside like kick-the-can, hide and seek and others until late in the evening when her mother called for them. She ice skated in the winter. Her Christmas gifts were meager. She took a bath once a week in a round tub which was used to rinse clothes. Her mother washed clothes on a board until they got a wringer washer.

Grandmother tells in her journal how her mother made 12 loaves of bread every day as well as cookies, pies, buns, and cakes which would take her most of the day. My grandmother ended up being an excellent cook.  Grandma was active in drama and chorus. She loved going to dances when she was young as well as having candy pulls and popping corn.

My grandparents on the right and me and my daughter in front.

As I was reading my grandmother’s journal, I had to chuckle when I read this: Ruth took some classes at the BYU where she met Isileli Tupou Kongaika from Nuku’alofa,Tongatapu, Tonga. He had a musical group at the school and they were always on call for programs. Ruth having a beautiful singing voice was asked to join. This she did, and she and Isi began to sing together and this friendship soon ripened into love, and they were married on the 27th of October 1972 in the Provo Temple. After Isi finished college, they went to Tonga to live. She lived on the island for three years. They loved her as if she was one of their own. They all live as one big happy family. They have three children: Liana Olivia born 29 July 1973 at Provo, Utah, Robert James, born 2 October 1974 at Tofoa, Tongatapu, Joel Aholelei born 4 June 1978 at Provo. They came home from Tonga last spring. He went back to school and received his Masters degree in Manual Arts. He is teaching school in Sandy, Utah. we hope that he will be happy and want to stay in Utah. I would hate to see her and her family go back to Tonga.

I laugh because we ended up going back and living in Tonga for ten more years. I do not regret living in Tonga. In fact, it was the best place to raise our four children. They did very well in school and had so many wonderful friends. It was way different from my youth and my kids are very glad that they lived there. I’m sure my grandmother was just concerned with my welfare, but so many wonderful things happened to me while we lived there.

I can’t imagine myself living without many of the comforts we enjoy today, although I did experience having a wringer washer, cold showers, and other inconveniences when we lived in Tonga. It gave me a greater appreciation for what my grandparents lives were like when they were kids.

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Fun with Great Grandpa!

I have written about each of our grandchildren and their parents, but I realized that I haven’t made a post about our incredible Great Grandpa Anderson (my dad). He is 93 going on 70, and other than sore legs and behind, he is doing well. His memory is amazing and he can still surprise you with his humor.

Although Great Grandpa eats whatever he wants (dessert and all), he defies the dieting gurus and exercise buffs! He said if you see him out jogging or running, he has gone crazy. He does lift weights (10 lbs) each morning and stretches his back out on a home-made stretcher.

Robert Hugh Anderson (Dad) served in the Air Corps where he flew during the World War, and since then he has jumped out of airplanes, and has made his own remote controlled airplanes. He is a self-taught woodworker, jeweler, and gardener. He built a beautiful house for Mom, brick by brick. He is the man the neighbors call when something goes wrong with their house.

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Mom and Dad served a mission in Wisconsin and he has served in bishoprics and always as a remarkable home teacher.

Dad has worked as a mechanic, a jeweler, an accountant, a printer, and created the prototype for Bonham Tote Gote. He is an avid reader and is very knowledgeable. Dad made a kit car and has used it in several parades. His love of cars never decreased since his first job in Provo at Lincoln Mercury, but he has a special liking for Mustangs.

Dad has been a constant in my life. Although mother passed away in 2007, he has continued to attend events with our grandchildren.

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We went with Dad to Scotland (the land of his ancestors) and Egypt when our son was stationed there. He visited us in Tonga and Hawaii during our sojourn in the South Pacific. Dad has been a great influence for our grandchildren as you can see in many of the pictures.

Dad nurtured my love of music by playing reel-to-reel tapes when I was younger of Andy Williams, Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, and many others. Dad is always quick to sing in family events and always does great! 

Dad has been a great support since I married the Prince of Tonga.  Thanks, Dad!

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Dad took a break from home to stay in an assisted living dwelling. He missed his home so much that he got better and now lives it up in the home he built! His constant companion is his oxygen bottle, but he doesn’t let that deter him from being the best great grandpa around!

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Artwork, Beauty, Cultures, Grandchildren, Hawaii, health, home, Music, Parenting, photography, Religion

Treasures of being Grandparents

One of the main reasons we moved to Utah after we retired was to be closer to our grandchildren. We wanted to attend their concerts, plays, recitals, musicals, etc. It has been a delight to watch them participate in their activities.

Here are a few of our favorite pictures and videos from performances or activities our grandchildren have been involved in.

Isi sang in the BYU-Hawaii Concert Choir. It was thrilling to watch and hear him sing.

Princess has also sung in school choirs and has a beautiful voice. Ali’i .has an amazing voice also!

Most of our grandchildren play the ukulele, piano, guitar, or other instrument.

Jacob Tupou is into writing and loves books. He has sung in some performances at school and keeps a website going called

Ileina has lived closest to us since we have lived in Utah so we have attended several of her performances. She was in a Polynesian dancing group together with her cousins, Anna and Eryn.

Ali’i and Robbie are very skillful in sports. Ali’i has excelled in volleyball and Robbie in basketball. Check out their dancing skills here, especially Robbie!

Eryn has been learning the guitar and she loves riding her horse, Flash. She participated in a horse competition.

Zion is a good speller and has participated in spelling bees at school. He was recently in a musical and always fun to watch.

Joseph played baseball when he was younger and he has earned his black belt in karate. We were able to be there when he received it.

Izabella is so full of fun and participated in plays at school. She loves to dance and is a very sweet happy girl.

Lily has shared her singing talent in Friends to Friends and on numerous occasions. Her parents have let her experienced wheelchair dancing, sports, and being in plays at school.

We feel so blessed to be with our grandchildren during these important times in their lives. I remember my grandparents and they lived an hour away, so they didn;’t attend any of our activities.

Artwork, Beauty, Cultures, food, Grandchildren, health, holidays, home, Parenting, photography, Religion, travel

2019 Year in Review

Winter in Utah

It is always good to reflect on the things that we accomplished during the last year and to feel gratitude for the bad and the good. One thing for sure is that our grandchildren are growing up. This has brought tears of joy and sadness. They each work hard to enhance their talents. We try to attend as many concerts, performances, recitals, plays, birthday parties, and celebrations as we possibly can with our grandchildren. These thing bring us so much joy and happiness and keep us grounded. Liana, Ileina, and I flew to Las Vegas just to watch a Celine Dion concert and it was fabulous!

Our last family picture of 2018

‘Isileli has spent the majority of his time driving cars for Budget, working as a sealer in the temple, and giving Patriarchal blessings. I serve as his “scribe”. During the spring and summer months, ‘Isi and I  are usually found working in our yard and garden from which we had a good harvest this year.

Poshmark Ad I created showing some of my jewelry

I have spent much of my time teaching English online in Asia for iTutorGroup. I also started selling on Poshmark. This latest venture has been fun but now my home is beginning to look like Goodwill! I learned a whole new terminology as a “reseller” and spend much of my time “thrifting” and sharing my “haul” to interested buyers. I also sell Avon, mainly so I can get a discount on their products. I occasionally do some painting, write posts for my blog: grandma, and write blog articles for

Healthwise, this has not been our best year! Both ‘Isi and I are starting to “lose it” and have a hard time remembering where we put things, names of common things, how to swallow – things like that! We don’t drive at night. Getting old is not fun at all, but we are grateful to still be alive. We are fortunate to have our own personal Dr. Kinikini (Liana) nearby who has dealt with our frequent complaints and aches. My shingles returned and Grave’s disease continues to haunt me.

Desperate times demand desperate measures. We have tried “tapping”, “natural” medicine, hormone therapy, counseling, etc. Actually, we are ending the year on a high note (crossing our fingers)! Next on our calendar is cataract surgery! I remember when my mother and grandmother had that. Yikes!

A highlight of the year was attending my 50th year reunion from high school. Yep, I graduated in 1969! I got to meet old friends and had a wonderful time. Meanwhile, ’Isi traveled to Tonga together with Joel, Anna, Eryn, and Joseph. They enjoyed the time together and the kids learned so much about their Polynesian heritage. 

We visit with Dad often. He is doing quite well for a 93-year-old. Jacob and family live in Lehi so we get to see them often. They are all so talented! Little Big Jakey is writing and Zion making a computer! Wow! James Ali’i is amazing at volleyball and Robbie loves basketball! 

Our latest venture was to Arizona and this time I made it all the way there! We had a stopover in Lake Havasu and then went on to the Scottsdale area where we had a Kongaika Reunion. We spent time with all of our grandchildren during the reunion. We just had Israel and Princess visit us on their break from university. 

Lily was recently in a Christmas Performance with “Friend to Friend” This group is made up of children and adults with special needs. It always helps to remind us of the real meaning of the holidays. Lily still holds her own single solos in the program!

We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas! and a Happy New Year 2020!!

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Kongaika Reunion Our Roots Run Deep 2019

We recently returned from our family reunion in Arizona. My favorite part of the reunion was being with most of my grandchildren. We missed having our oldest grandson who is studying at BYU-Hawaii.

We ate, danced, ate, talked, ate, visited, ate, played fun games, ate, sang karaoke, ate, played sports, ate, etc. representatives from each family shared their talents at a talent night. It was an awesome reunion.

Traditional puaka tunu.
Yummy lumpia made by Abi
Kareoke Kids

We are so grateful to those that were in charge of this year’s reunion. The Theme was “Our Roots Run Deep”. A t-shirt was designed by our son, Jacob. Scriptural references: Colossians 2:6-7: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” and Jacob 5: 46-47: Allegory of the tame and wild olive trees.

Our grandchildren that were at the reunion.
Robbie showing his bad skillz!

Rob had prepared some fun games that the children, youth, and a few adults enjoyed. Then came one game that brought out the beast in a few of our otherwise sane family members.

The game that makes sane people crazy!

Near the end of the reunion, we took photos. I hope someone will post the whole family picture. I only have a picture of our own family.

Isileli Tupou Kongaika family (missing Israel Kongaika)

’til next time famili! Ofa lahi atu!

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London Bridge in the Desert of Arizona

If I told you that someone bought the London Bridge and paid to have it moved to the desert of Arizona, would you believe me? It is true! I am a recent witness to the beauty and majesty of a bridge originally located in England which was disassembled piece by piece and moved 5400 miles. It has become Arizona’s second biggest tourist attraction (the Grand Canyon is number one).

London Bridge in Lake Havasu, Arizona

I first became acquainted with Lake Havasu when I was a child. My father had seen an advertisement for a free flight offered by Robert McCulloch, Sr. (1911 – 1977). This rich entrepreneur flew interested persons to the middle of the desert where no roads led. He had planned a whole community in the hot dry heat of Western Arizona. The area had previously been used as a military base. Since my father had served in the Air Corps right after high school, he jumped at the opportunity to go on a free flight. He was one of many prospective land buyers that purchased a plot of desert. I’m sure he bought it in the hopes of building a winter home to get away from cold Utah winters.

I remember traveling to Lake Havasu once there was a paved road that went all the way to Lake Havasu. This lake was the result of the Parker Dam which plugged up the Colorado River running through Arizona all the way to California. Unfortunately, many Indian lands were covered by the new lake and they had to make homes elsewhere.

My husband and I stayed at the Havasu Dunes, a timeshare trade for us. It was comfortable and adequate although not luxurious.

We set out to check out the lake, the London Bridge, and the local museum. It was very interesting to learn about Mr. McCulloch. He bought the London bridge for a bit over $2 million. It had originally spanned the River Thames, but was sinking so was put up for sale. Not something you think about buying every day, but I guess it was on his radar! He was quite a visionary and the London Bridge has been featured in a couple of movies. If you are superstitious, you may see a British police bobby patrolling the bridge at night. Also, it is home to guano (bats) that inhabit the hollow interior.

Robert McCulloch, Sr . and President Eisenhower

Once we got near the bridge, we saw many boaters, paddlers, water skiers and a ferry. It was a water lovers paradise!

We decided to take the ferry. It was a great ride and we felt like we were back in Hawaii for a minute, but then realized we were in the middle of the desert. The learned that there were 27 lighthouses in Lake Havasu many of which were replicas of other lighthouses in the United States. We took a ride to see how many we could find. There are still plenty of land plots to purchase, some with water fronts if anyone is interested. We opted to try and pay off our mortgage in Utah before we die!

We took the ferry ride to the other side of the lake. There were plenty of ducks in the lake and the weather was fine. I thought it was a round trip, but we were heard “All ashore!”. So, along with the rest of the passengers, we took to land near a new casino. We were told it would be back soon before the ferry took off. A wind really picked up and the ride back across the lake was a bit bumpy. Safely back on shore, we made our way back through the gates to Lake Havasu and to our little cottage in the dunes.

Ferry ride in Lake Havasu

The museum wasn’t too far from the bridge itself. We enjoyed learning more about the beginnings of Lake Havasu, the actual lake and the city. It had grown quite a bit since I first visited many years earlier. So much history, including some from London, the Indians that inhabited the land before the dam created the lake, and so much more. It was amazing!

We stayed for three nights in Lake Havasu and enjoyed the break from our regular schedules. It was very edifying and inspiring. The next time you sing, “London Bridge is falling down”, just we assured that it is well established in its new home and very much loved.

Just FYI – the population of Lake Havasu City was 15,500 in December of 1975 and by 2010, the U.S. Census estimated the population to be 52,527. McCulloch Blvd is the main street and there is actually a Beachcomber Blvd on an island where many of the lighthouses can be found. Interestingly, California is on one side of the lake and Arizona is on the other.

Artwork, Beauty, Cultures, food, Grandchildren, Hawaii, holidays, home, Parenting, photography, Religion, travel, Uncategorized

Christmas Past

I decided to look back on our time as grandparents and Christmas celebrations with the grandchildren. It took a bit to find all the pictures, but here are some of them.

One year we went as a family to visit a dear friend in his 90s, Elder Glenn Rudd. He had been our Area President when we served in Tonga.

Since Lily joined our tribe, we have been going to her Friend to Friend productions which are a highlight of the holiday season. She has never been afraid to get up and sing in front of an audience and astounds us every time.

One year we had the children dress up and we did the nativity scene. It was very fun and special.

One of our favorite places to visit during the holidays is Salt Lake Temple Square.

We have two birthdays in December and one anniversary.

Christmas decorations at BYU-Hawaii
One of my Christmas Days with my brother, Kirk in Orem, Utah

A few more pictures…

Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without grandchildren! We are so blessed to have our grandchildren!

A Hawaiian Snowman!

Wishing each of our friends and family a very Happy Holiday. Christ is the reason for the season.

Beauty, Cultures, Grandchildren, Hawaii, health, holidays, home, Parenting, photography, Religion, travel

Attitude of Gratitude

As I approach my 70th year of life on this earth, I feel the need to show my gratitude to all of those who have helped me along the way. First, I know my Heavenly Father has directed our travels throughout the world and protected us from accidents, major sickness, and has blessed us with a beautiful family. He blessed us with loving, caring children and grandchildren, for whom I am incredibly thankful. I’m so glad that all of our children love and support one another. How incredibly blessed we feel.

We have been led to Tonga, American Samoa, Arizona, and Hawaii during our marriage. I’m not sure why we moved so much, but here is a rundown of our moves: (I have previously written some articles about our experiences which I will link below)

Provo, Utah 1972-1974 ~ I worked at Utah Valley Hospital while ‘Isileli Tupou completed his Bachelor’s degree at Brigham Young University – Provo. We had Liana Olivia Kongaika six months before graduation.

Liahona High School, Tonga 1974-1977 ~ We were hired to work at the College in Liahona. ‘Isileli Tupou taught Industrial Education including Architectural and Mechanical Design, woodworking, and metal. ‘Isi became the Department Head of the Industrial Education Instruction. We had Robert James Kongaika in 1973 in Tonga.

Provo, Utah 1977-1978 ~ We returned to BYU-Provo to work on Isi’s Master’s Degree. We had Joel ‘Aholelei Kongaika while ‘Isi was going to University. ‘Isi’s field project was a Pictorial Instruction on How to Operate a Metal Lathe for Tongan Students.

American Samoa 1979-1980 ~ ‘Isi was hired by the American Samoa Department of Education to work in Leoni High School as well as at American Samoa Community College to prepare teachers for certification. We had Jacob Epikopo Manuia while working in American Samoa. I attended American Samoa Community College while I was expecting.

Arizona 1981-1982 ~ ‘Isi was hired by the Pinal School District to work at Coolidge Middle School and taught MIE Industrial Education classes.

Tonga 1982-1992 ~ We returned to Tonga to work again at Liahona High School. The last three years we served in the Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission as Mission President with our family.

Hawaii 1992 – 2013 ~ We were hired to work at Brigham Young University – Hawaii. First, as Foreign Student Advisor and then as Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students. Our children were growing and Liana left to pursue a degree in Nursing at BYU Provo. Robert stayed behind with Lu’isa in Tonga. Our two boys, Joel and Jacob completed high school at Kahuku High School. I worked in the Fine Arts Departments as well as in the School of Education.

Utah 2013 – 2016 ~ After 20 years of working at BYU-Hawaii, ‘Isi and I retired to Utah. We lived with my father one year and then lived in South Jordan near Liana and Siope Kinikini. We were happy to be with our children and grandchildren closer.

In between our moves, we have been able to travel to many other parts of the world. I believe our lives have been enriched by being exposed to so many different people and cultures and love our friends throughout the world.

God has always been in the picture as we have moved from place to place. There have been trials, sickness, and disappointments, but as we look back on our life, It seems to all have been orchestrated for our own good.